Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Gnetopsida Ephedrales Ephedraceae

Scientific Name: Ephedra rupestris
Species Authority: Benth
Common Name(s):
Spanish Munika, Pincu-pincu, Sanu-sanu, Saro-saro
Ephedra americana Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd. subspecies rupestris (Benth.) Stapf
Ephedra andina Poepp. & Endl. subspecies humilis (Wedd.) Parl.
Ephedra humilis Wedd.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-20
Assessor(s): Bell, A. & Bachman, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
This is a wide ranging species occurring across the Andes at high elevations and is under no major threats at present. Hence is listed as Least Concern. Recent collections made in Argentina indicate the species is still extant, but further surveys would help to further understand threats and population status.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Has a wide range extending through the Andes from Ecuador to northern Argentina. Occurs from 1,900 m up to 4,600 m.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Peru
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1900
Upper elevation limit (metres): 4600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is not known.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A dwarf shrub to 0.6 m tall, prostrate, forming dense cushions. Found in grassy páramo with rocky outcrops in windswept areas, growing in gravelly or sandy soil. Also found in grassy areas and associated with cushion plants, bunch grass, cactus, lichen and composites. Flowers from March to May.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system (Plants for a Future 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Only small scale grazing is likely to affect this species due to its distribution at high elevations. As with other Ephedra species it may be harvested for medicinal uses, but there is no specific reference about this species being utilized.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The distribution of this species intersects several protected areas including the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. Seeds have yet to be collected as an ex situ conservation measure, although it is known to be represented in two botanic gardens. Further research on threats and population status would aid future assessments.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability: Suitable  
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Plants for a Future. 1996-2010. Plants For A Future, Earth, Plants, People. Available at:

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. 2009. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Available at:

Citation: Bell, A. & Bachman, S. 2011. Ephedra rupestris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T201681A9163757. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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